More history of the 1G iPod, courtesy Wired | iLounge News


More history of the 1G iPod, courtesy Wired

Wired’s Leander Kahney has shed additional light on the making of Apple’s first iPod in an interview with Ben Knauss, formerly of PortalPlayer, co-developer of the iPod hardware. Highlights include

  • Tony Fadell approached Apple with the business idea of a music player coupled with a music download service. Several companies turned Fadell down, but Apple said yes, and gave him a 30-person team.
  • When Apple signed on, PortalPlayer dropped work for as many as 12 customers, including IBM, which had planned “a small, black MP3 player” with a “unique circular screen and wireless Bluetooth headphones” plus miniature IBM hard drives.
  • Knauss claims 280 PortalPlayer employees worked for 8 months on the iPod design to incorporate Apple-requested features, many from Steve Jobs himself, including AAC, an equalizer, Audible audio book support, faster menus, louder output (“Jobs is partly deaf”) and better audio quality.
  • Apple used a collection of confusing prototypes “to make sure it wasn’t predictable what the end design was.”
  • The iPod project almost died when initial battery life proved out at 3 hours, even when powered down. But when the problem was fixed, Apple bought a majority stake in PortalPlayer.

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NPR’s Talk of the Nation discussed the Duke announcement and the iPod in general (it’s a call-in show).

Steven Levy of Newsweek was a guest and he talked about how he had a loaner of the 1G, which had just been introduced when he met Bill Gates.  Levy said Gates’ eye jummped out of his head or something like that.

I believe they have archived streams of the shows on the NPR site.

Posted by wco81 in Irvine, CA on July 21, 2004 at 3:22 PM (CDT)


I think it was interesting that The Volume was tuned up as a result of Jobs’ hearing loss.  I’m hearing impaired myself, so I’m glad someone was paying attention to people like me, who need a little more volume…

Posted by Cameron in Irvine, CA on July 21, 2004 at 9:27 PM (CDT)


I’m so glad Jobs was willing to exert his influence on the project making sure that the product was absolutely intuitive and well designed. I think this is one of the beauties of the iPod - it is simple and powerful.

Posted by Justin in Irvine, CA on July 22, 2004 at 12:22 AM (CDT)


indeed interesting regarding Jobs’ hearing. I think it’s one of the iPods advantages that it has such a powerful amp - especially when the norm these days is to keep whittling away at the amp in efforts to boost battery life, which in turn, severely limits the number of headphone you can satisfactorily drive.

Posted by Nathan in Irvine, CA on July 22, 2004 at 7:54 AM (CDT)


i would have love to seen the ibm version black and with the bluetooh headphones!! wow what would have been!

Posted by Mike Nyce in Irvine, CA on July 22, 2004 at 6:04 PM (CDT)


Several confusing prototypes?

I wonder if there are any working prototype ipods with completely different designs floating around anywhere..

Posted by Eric in Irvine, CA on July 22, 2004 at 6:29 PM (CDT)


I just bought a 40 gig ipod(4th gen) and was disappointed with the package I purchased.  Ya, so the click wheel is neat, the battery life is great, but what happened to all the stuff that used to come with it?  When I bought my first ipod (a second gen), it was middle of the road, $400 bucks, 10 gig, better than the 5, not as good as the 20, but it came with ALOT!  It had the ipod, musicmatch, firewire cable, headphones, remote, and a case!  My second ipod was a 15gig purchased for 249, a great price right, bottom of the line, so I didn’t expect all the bells and whistles, like the dock, or case, or remote, and I was happy.  This 40gig however had half as many accessories as the 10 gig I purchased 2 years ago.  If you add up the accessories that used to come in the top of the line package only a year ago, remote/headphones=$40, case=$40, that right there is your price drop!  Even so, I would recommend the 4th over any of the others, its got a nice smooth look to it, and is much easier to navigate with.

Posted by MyNameIs in Irvine, CA on August 3, 2004 at 10:03 PM (CDT)


hi i want 1

Posted by daisy ramirez in Irvine, CA on January 16, 2007 at 3:27 PM (CST)

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